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April 21 2018 - 9:49 am

NEW: Artwork as Album Folder Icon

I usually recommend that you should just ignore the files in the iTunes Media folder. There’s not much of a reason to go poking around in there if iTunes is managing your audio files. And interfering could disturb iTunes.

But plenty of iTunes users manage these files manually outside of the iTunes Media folder (although iTunes will still use this folder for Store downloads, CD rips, podcast downloads, and so on, in cases where it needs to know where to save something). For example, users who share their iTunes audio files with DJ’ing software may prefer to access these files manually. So it might be handy to make Album folders more easily identifiable by using the album artwork as the Album folder icon.

Artwork as Album Folder Icon will use the assigned artwork from the selected tracks as the icon for the folder containing each track’s corresponding file in the Finder:

Just select some tracks, or a playlist of tracks, and begin processing with the script. If the tracks have artwork and their files are accessible, the individual album’s artwork will be applied as the icon for the folder containing the files.

More information and download is located on this page.

April 20 2018 - 2:26 pm

The Next Track, Episode #101 – Radio Paradise

I was only just mentioning Radio Paradise in our episode on Radio a few weeks ago and that I’ve been a frequent listener for years. Well, in this week’s episode we were happy to welcome Bill Goldsmith, the co-founder and and co-operator (along with his wife, Rebecca) of this venerable internet radio station.

You can listen to the episode at The Next Track website here or subscribe from this page to make sure you get all future episodes. As usual, there’s a link to an Apple Music playlist of our “next track” picks.

April 15 2018 - 2:15 pm

The Next Track, Episode #100 – How We Listen to Music Today

For our 100th episode, Kirk and I reflect on how the way we listen to music has changed over the nearly two years we’ve been producing the podcast. I think that if you had told me back when we started that I’d be reasonably content with streaming, I’d have thought you were crazy.

You can listen to the episode at The Next Track website here or subscribe from this page to make sure you get all future episodes. As usual, there’s a link to an Apple Music playlist of our “next track” picks.

April 7 2018 - 2:07 pm

Album Loved No Longer a Thing?

I was playing around with Album Loved settings in the latest iTunes (12.7.4) and I’d have sworn the Album Loved was displayed as a single heart adjacent to the Album Rating. But not now?


Where’s the love?

You can see that “Loved” is chosen in the contextual menu but there is no indication that anything is loved.

And it seems that in some Views, I can batch-set all the tracks to Loved, but not the actual album—or, at least, this is not being displayed.

I’m leaning towards “bug”.

UPDATE: Steve MacGuire reminds me that the Album Love heart is still visible in a wide-enough Artwork column in Songs View:

But I rarely use this configuration. So now I’m wondering if I am “mis-remembering” the Album Love heart in Album View?

April 4 2018 - 6:06 am

Name New Playlist From Selection, Updated

I’ve mentioned my “Name New Playlist From Selection” script in the past. It emulates iTunes’ “Playlist From Selection” command with the added feature of asking for the playlist name before actually creating the playlist. This just seems to make sense to me rather than naming it afterwards. I’ve given it the same keyboard shortcut as the iTunes command (Shift-Command-N) so that the script is launched instead of the command being carried out.

Here is an updated version of that script which adds an option to provide a playlist description. The default text presented will be “Created 4/4/2018”, or whatever the current date is.
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March 30 2018 - 11:05 am

The Next Track, Episode #98 – 1981

1981 was an interesting year for music and that’s the topic for this week’s episode of The Next Track podcast.

You can listen to the episode at The Next Track website here or subscribe from this page to make sure you get all future episodes. The show notes include a link to an Apple Music playlist we prepared of some of the artrists and albums we mention during the show

BTW: In 1981, WRIU-FM was the college station where I worked. I was immortalized at the time in comic form by Patty Andrews (who did indeed DJ as Tania Hearts) in her “Radio Waves” strip (guarantee: all dialog overheard verbatim):
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March 29 2018 - 4:54 pm

iTunes 12.7.4 Released

Apple has released iTunes 12.7.4 (build 12.7.4.76) today. It adds support for “a new music video experience” in Apple Music. I’m not sure why the app needed updating in that regard since most of that stuff is server-side. A chance for some additional mainenance perhaps. You can update through the App Store app, as usual.

March 24 2018 - 2:23 pm

The Next Track, Episode #97: Jerry Ewing, Prog and “Wonderous Stories”

Kirk and I have a chat with Jerry Ewing, the founder and current editor of the UK magazine Prog about his new book “Wonderous Stories: A Journey Through the Landscape of Progressive Rock“. The book’s fun to browse with plenty of photos and album art and covers the history of Progressive Rock from the classic bands at its beginning right through to its contemporary incarnations of New Prog and Progressive Metal.

You can listen to the episode at The Next Track website here or subscribe from this page to make sure you get all future episodes.

March 20 2018 - 7:50 am

Errant Control Characters in Metadata

As you probably know: when you first mount a new CD and have a look at it in iTunes, the track information you see, for the most part, is not from the CD. (Well, there is such a thing as CD Text but it is not widely used.) Instead, this information is typically retrieved over the internet from Gracenote, a company that maintains an information database of virtually every CD.

Ostensibly, the record labels provide Gracenote with the correct metadata for their products. But users can contribute “corrected” track data to Gracenote from many music apps, including iTunes. Crowd-sourcing this information famously has its, uhm, pitfalls.

Recently, a Correspondent told me of an issue with finding return and linefeed characters in the Name tags of some of his tracks, metadata which were undoubtedly retrieved from Gracenote. These control characters aren’t supposed to be used in iTunes tags. In fact, entering a return character in most iTunes text fields is usually a signal to end editing. At best, iTunes does not accommodate line ending characters very well. The ID3 Tag spec may not permit them either, but I am not certain. Of course, I suppose it is possible that some other music app does allow return or linefeed characters in its track entries database.

So, evidently, perhaps someone was able to upload Name metadata to Gracenote formatted with line breaks, something like so:

Cycle for Children v2 XI Jerring Song '
The Sun Shines Into The Church' 
 (allegro ironico) (Gyermekeknek Sz42)

(At first, I thought the problem was that a linefeed was somehow “attached” to the single quote character; but in the second instance the linefeed is followed by a space. So maybe this was just poor cursor placement or bad automation.)

Depending on the app and the UI element that is rendering this text, the linefeed characters may not actually “feed” a new line but instead will be replaced with a space character (on the screen, anyway). This leads me to think that perhaps the source machine was a WIndows box; there was a time when “Mac or PC” made a difference in this regard. I still see Windows XP-era text effluvia in some Comments tags, for example.

In any case, while it may seem that formatting Name text with control characters wouldn’t be a problem, its the sort of thing that may “work fine…until it doesn’t”. My Correspondent found that several AppleScripts of mine that he was using weren’t working to remove these errant control characters. (Who knows what kind of havoc may be unleashed when syncing these tracks to a device or iCloud?)

So, I created a simple script that removes any return or linefeed characters from the Name tags of a selection of tracks in iTunes.
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March 9 2018 - 2:00 pm

The Next Track, Episode #95: Movies about Music Part 3 – Concert Movies

The latest episode of The Next Track podcast concludes our three-part look at films about music with a chat about some of our favorite (and not so favorite) concert movies. They just don’t seem to make ’em like they used to, if they make ’em at all.

Early in the ‘cast, I talked about going to see a lot of these movies at The Palace Concert Theater in Providence, RI when they held 99¢ movie nights. It has since been converted into the very very nice Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC).

Here’s a shot of the older incarnation’s marquee, which I believe was probably taken in 1972:

Courtesy of rirocks.net.

An aside observation: The J Geils Band—who, of course, hail from neighboring Boston—were incredibly popular around this time so it’s no wonder The Eagles were second bill.

You can listen to the episode at The Next Track website here or subscribe from this page to make sure you get all future episodes.

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